ENGLEWOOD, Colo. --Executive Vice President/General Manager John Elway answered questions for 14 minutes after the Broncos released three players, waived 19 others and placed Shiloh Keo on the suspended list for the next two weeks.
A few takeaways from Elway's question-and-answer session:
- AT RUNNING BACK, SPECIAL TEAMS MADE THE DIFFERENCE**
Kapri Bibbs' prominent role on multiple No. 1 special-teams units this summer helped separate him from Ronnie Hillman in the race to be one of the backups to C.J. Anderson.
A role on at least some of the return and coverage units is essential to sticking on the roster as a No. 3 running back. Bibbs established that, and that gave him the nod over the five-year veteran.
"Ronnie was a guy that did a lot of good things for us. We just thought that with Kapri, we were probably in better shape with what he could do on special teams," Elway said. "It's always tough. They're all close. That one was really close."
Bibbs led the Broncos in rushing during the preseason and earned frequent praise from Head Coach Gary Kubiak for the way he stepped up his efforts in what was potentially a now-or-never camp.
"Kapri has worked very hard and deserved a shot," Elway said.
Elway said he was comfortable with three running backs "at this point in time." There wasn't room for FB/RB Juwan Thompson; to keep him along with rookie Andy Janovich would have left the Broncos with "more than we needed at that spot," Elway said.
"We thought three at running back would be fine," he said.
- MARK SANCHEZ SHOWED "GREAT CLASS"**
Elway confirmed there were talks regarding his status before 2 p.m. MDT roster deadline, but ultimately the hour struck with his release.
"There were a lot of options and a lot of different things going on," Elway said.
Elway said he met with Sanchez earlier Saturday, having a "long talk" with the eight-year veteran QB who lost out to Trevor Siemian in the race to be the Broncos' Week 1 starter.
"He handled it with great class," Elway said. "I know he's disappointed; he wanted to stay here. We just thought with where we are, it's probably best for us to go a different way at this point in time, but Mark was great, and he handled everything great."
- ELWAY PLEASED WITH LYNCH'S GROWTH**
In Elway's eyes, it's so far, so good for the progress of rookie quarterback Paxton Lynch, who ended up seeing nearly two and a half full games of preseason work.
"I'm excited about it. He's done a nice job. He played well in the preseason. He got a lot of snaps and got a lot of experience," Elway said. "He played well, and he got a better feel for it every time he played. So I'm excited about his progress and what his possibilities are.
"He's fun to watch. He's accurate and he can really throw it and move around. He's athletic. He's got all the tools and he's tough.
"Thursday night he took some shots and he hung in there. He's not afraid to stand in that pocket. That's one thing you always wonder -- how tough they are."
- "WE'VE GOT A LOT OF CONFIDENCE IN TREVOR"**
Immediately after discussing Lynch's toughness, Elway also praised the same characteristic in Trevor Siemian, who did some of his best work this summer passing under pressure.
"Obviously there are certain things when you lose a guy like Peyton Manning, but I think with Trevor, the way that he handles [everything] for a young guy that hasn't taken a lot of snaps -- he handles things very well and he handles the huddle very well. The guys like him, they respect him and believe in him. I think that's the key thing."
That compensates for Siemian's lack of regular-season experience, Elway said.
"I know that he hasn't taken a snap, other than a kneeldown in a regular season game, but he's been here and he's been in big games and he's been on the sideline and he's been around," Elway said. "He knows the field; he knows what the feel of the regular season is. Paxton doesn't have that feel. It's a different feel when you're a rookie, so that's why I think Trevor has a chance even though I know that he hasn't taken any snaps."
And Elway affirmed that Siemian is the clear starter.
"We believe that he can do the job," Elway added. "It's Trevor's job, and he's not going to be looking over his shoulder."
Elway added that veteran QB Austin Davis is not being brought in to compete with Siemian.
"He's coming in to learn the offense," Elway said. "We'll take it one step at a time. Any time you bring in a guy this late, it's going to take some time; you get him turned around."
A player-by-player look at our initial roster. (Photos by AP)
- "MOVING IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION" ON EMMANUEL SANDERS**
Negotiations continue between the Broncos and Emmanuel Sanders' representatives on a contract extension, Elway said.
"The only thing that changed there was the other contract -- [Los Angeles'] Tavon Austin," Elway said. "We're moving in the right direction. They're looking at that. So nothing has changed."
Elway said he wanted to hear back from Sanders' representation on a contract offer last Sunday, but had not heard anything.
... "False," was Elway's succinct response to an ESPN report that the Broncos were shopping CB Aqib Talib. "His name was never brought up." Elway also said the Broncos have heard nothing about his potential status in regards to the ongoing investigation into the shooting that led to his leg injury in June.
... Every member of the Broncos' 2016 draft class made the initial regular-season roster. "You hope when you go through the draft and that process, that you're able to pick the right guys that are able to come in and help your football team," Elway said. "So we're fortunate that we got a good group this year."
... "We liked Riley's upside," Elway said when asked about the decision to go with rookie Riley Dixon ahead of Britton Colquitt at punter. "Those are always tough spots, because any time you have a veteran and you go young, there's always that consistency factor, and you sometimes take one step back before you take two ahead. That's what we're planning on, but we think that Riley can step in and be that guy."